The dog days of summer, dear readers. A respite from the smog as the world focuses on the Olympics for a while, rather than yet another slew of outrageous Trump statements.
China is not doing so well in this Olympics from a medal count perspective, currently in second place behind the United States, which from a sporting perspective means absolutely nothing in terms of the future of humankind, or the relative merit and value of the two countries. Here at the cutting edge, we generally pay no attention to sports at all. Whether one team wins a game of soccer or baseball, or the other team – what difference does it make? Our sports of choice are economics and politics which involve more than enough high-risk competitive suspense to keep anyone happy, while also having a wider significance.
Of course, the Olympic medal counts are something like the Shanghai stock index – they are viewed by the authorities as having some symbolic significance that will reflect on them positively or negatively, depending on how the numbers go. And there are those who will say the medal counts relate to the fundamentals of the various societies. China’s hothouse approach to the training of promising athletes, as opposed to the more organic and enthusiasm-based approach of other countries – should we be drawing conclusions from this? It is also interesting to see that Japan and South Korea are doing so well in the medals harvest – they are currently ranked third and fourth behind China. Both societies, remember, share with China a Confucian base. Whatever happens with Brexit, the great success of the European Union is that it ended the enmities of centuries between the French, the Germans, the British and the rest. War between these countries is now no longer possible. To conceive of a similar rapprochement in this part of the world, East Asia, seems like a dream, but that is how it must have seemed In Europe in 1945. But it’s summer, and why not dream for a while. Enjoy the sun!